Discover How to Decline a Job Offer After Accepting It

Finding employment these days can be tricky. Applicants and hiring managers need to be strategic about their approach in order to be hired and in order to hire the right candidate. After all, the hiring process is a negotiation of sorts.

However, there are times when it is necessary for applicants to decline a job offer. This can feel awkward, especially after they have accepted the proposal.


Those who find themselves in such a difficult position can navigate the situation smoothly. This article talks about why this happens and how to get through it with minimal hassle

  • Read and Re-Read the Contract
  • Reasons People Might Want to Decline a Job Offer
  • Properly Convey the Message
  • Prepare for Renegotiations
  • What to Do the Next Time
Discover How to Decline a Job Offer After Accepting It
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Read and Re-Read the Contract

Candidates decide to decline current offers for a reason – reasonable or otherwise – even though they initially accepted them. In these situations, chances are the hiring manager has already sent a copy of the contract in order to give the applicant some time to read it, while some may have already signed it. 

Discover How to Decline a Job Offer After Accepting It
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Individuals who are deciding whether to turn down the deal or continue on with it should do so after analyzing the contract thoroughly. These documents typically contain everything the employee and employer need to know about their relationship including salary, conditions, hours, and many others.


By taking a closer look at the contract, applicants might find things they did not notice the first time, items they may not be comfortable with on second thought, or things they want clarifications about. All of these things can lead to someone changing their mind about the offer.

It is important to find notes in the contract regarding retracting the agreement, especially when the applicant has already signed it. Some contracts have clauses regarding this, which can prevent people from declining after signing. 

Weigh the Pros and Cons

Those who are still deciding whether it is better not to get the job should create a pros and cons list. This is an effective way to see what benefits and opportunities are present at the job offer compared to another option. 


When doing so, it is important to try to take on a more objective perspective. The fact that they are thinking of declining the offer means that they have some negative thoughts about the current offer while having positive ideas about other opportunities.

Objectivity can help them make a decision and weed out any reservations about it. Of course, other methods may be effective such as conducting a thorough analysis of the two options, but for a quick brainstorming session, a pros and cons list can do the trick.

Reasons Why People Might Want to Decline a Job Offer

People might want to decline an accepted offer if circumstances have changed since they accepted the offer such as their financial needs, their assessment of their capabilities, and knowledge about the job and company.

Discover How to Decline a Job Offer After Accepting It
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One of the most important reasons why applicants may decline an accepted offer is because of their finances. They may be in a better financial state when they agreed to the offer, but due to emergencies and other unexpected events, the deal may no longer cater to their needs.

They may also previously have been willing to work the position as they believed they were qualified for the job, but after further consideration, they may no longer think so. There are different factors why assessment of their capabilities can result in an applicant declining the offer. 

In connection with this, candidates may have found new information about the job and the company that they did not know before the proposal. Such details can include workplace environment and conditions, work-life boundaries, and social circumstances. 

A Better Opportunity

Some people may retract their agreement when a better opportunity comes along. This could be a job that better fits their needs and preference. They might have found a job that is more in line with their dream career in their dream company.

They may also have found a post that works more in their favor. Higher pay, better benefits, more flexibility, and increased control over their time can contribute to this. A versatile work arrangement such as hybrid remote and on-site work, and even the option for permanent remote work can be a deciding factor.

Lastly, some candidates may have found a better alternative than employment. Their small business may have gained traction, their attempt at freelancing may have taken flight, or their passion projects may have opened income opportunities

Properly Convey the Message

Those who have decided to decline the offer should take the time to think about how they would tell the hiring manager. This is one of the trickiest parts. They need to be concise, honest, and grateful. They should also choose the right mode of communication.

Discover How to Decline a Job Offer After Accepting It
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Conciseness and accuracy of language are important factors when communicating professionally. Applicants want to make sure that they are direct and to the point. However, this does not mean that their message should be composed only of their intention to decline the offer.

The employer and hiring manager deserve to know the reason for this decision, and in this case, honesty is the best policy, as they say. Succinctly expressing the reason is a great way to show honestly and convey the message. 

Of course, being straightforward and honest does not mean that applicants should forgo gratitude even when they feel otherwise. This part may seem insincere, but it is wise to keep the possibility open instead of burning the bridge. Who knows, in some twist of events, they might need to seek employment from the company again some time in the future. 

Timing Matters

While it is advisable to take the time to think of what to say, it is important to act immediately. Companies may be in immediate need to fill the role, and if the applicant has already signed the contract, hiring managers may be less willing to accept the decision.

Even those who have yet to sign the contract should inform the hiring manager immediately. They will need to look for another candidate and they can only do so after they know about the decision. 

Besides, this is the polite thing to do. Remember, as much as applicants want to hear back from hiring managers regardless if they get the job or not, they also want to know what the candidate decides to do with the offer.

Prepare for Renegotiations

Here is where the more delicate situations come in. Once the candidate conveys their decision, the hiring manager might try to renegotiate, especially if they believe that their talent perfectly suits their needs. 

Discover How to Decline a Job Offer After Accepting It
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For those who decided to decline because of the terms and conditions included in the contract, this is a welcome approach.

The hiring manager may offer a better compensation package, coordinate a more flexible schedule and work arrangement and other similar aspects within the company’s control. Those who are willing to join the company may want to consider renegotiations.

However, those who found the company’s work and social culture undesirable given their needs and preferences might find renegotiations awkward. Again, these cases call for honesty and clear, yet tactful messaging to avoid miscommunications.

Know Your Bottomline

For individuals willing to renegotiate, it is important to know what they want. Do they want more pay? Better hours? More favorable work arrangements? All these factors can be reasonable when conveyed correctly.

Before getting in touch with the hiring manager, applicants should take note of their specific requests. Instead of requesting a higher pay, it is better to negotiate for a specific amount. This will let the employer know exactly what is being sought after, especially when coordinating with higher management to make it possible.

The same goes for hours and arrangements. This shows a sense of worth, decisiveness, and proactiveness that most companies are looking for. If they take it negatively, either there is something lacking in the communications or they just might not be the best company for the candidate.

What to Do Next Time

Candidates who continue their journey to employment might encounter a similar situation in which they were amenable to the offer at first but changed their mind after thinking about it. While this is not ideal, it is better to prepare for it.

Discover How to Decline a Job Offer After Accepting It
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Having a template at the ready is a great step. This way, they already know how to approach the situation. Keep in mind that customizing the template is necessary to perfectly fit the job, company, and offer. 

It is possible to avoid getting into such sticky situations in the future. Make sure to have a checklist of things to look for when applying, including the pay, conditions, culture, and arrangements. 

There are websites that show reviews about the company and visiting them is a wise idea.

Negotiate at First Contact

Do research before applying by looking into the company’s reputation, culture, and brand before proceeding. If possible, ask people who work in the company about the position and everything else.

The interview is when applicants can negotiate. To avoid this situation, just make sure to convey every request and preference before agreeing. 

The Takeaway

Navigating this situation is tricky but not impossible. With this guide, those who find themselves having to decline an offer they have already accepted can address the issue professionally.